It is Saturday 9 a.m. and I am in a bath with Gwyneth Paltrow. There is no real water – but there is a whale song. Because, of course, it's a & # 39; healthy & # 39; bad, and I am at the very first Goop weekend to be held in the UK.
The location is in Hammersmith, West London, and my day pass for body and soul has cost £ 1,000.
Yet the event is sold out, with tickets for 250 days plus 35 weekend passes (including hotel stays) all gone, away, away for £ 4,500.
The people who bought the latter become & # 39; top fighters & # 39; called. Bloody idiots may be more suitable. Because I have rarely experienced such a day of wild nonsense. Or encountered so many young women with good skin in designer & # 39; athleisure & # 39 ;, gathering to worship at the altar of self-help.
My bag is searched at an entrance that is littered with huge installations of English flowers and I half expect that if plastic is found, I will have to be shot.
It is fascinating to see Gwyneth Paltrow, here only as a doctor, on stage and in the flesh. Since she is 46, she is a fantastic advertisement for her Goop brand, which she started ten years ago on her kitchen table in London. The United Kingdom is now its third largest market, only beaten by the Loons in America and Canada.
Her forehead has always been so lightly waved, the rich person's merit to show that they have not had a face lift, and she radiates healthy health.
She has ironed, Calvin Klein ad her and a smile that can be seen from space. She welcomes us all.
Liz Jones visits the first Goop wellness summit in London. Pictured: Liz in an LED mask
There are only a few men in the room, and there is only one woman I can recognize with a BMI above that of a catwalk model.
She then conducts an interview, or & # 39; morning fireside chat & # 39; in Goop-speak (there is no real fire, thank goodness, since it is the hottest day of the year) with Barry Michels, psychotherapist and author of the rather sadly titled The Tools. He is just one of the & # 39; provocative spirits & # 39; offered.
Chatting about how women can be powerful without becoming men, Michels calls the name Harvey Weinstein. Paltrow has the decency to blush, because it was by working with that particular monster (his company Miramax financed Shakespeare In Love) that she won her Oscar.
Perhaps this is why she has turned away from acting and giving something back.
But the important question is this: does she play today, or does she really believe all these things?
Gwynnie first became interested in alternative medicine when her father got cancer. Unfortunately, despite good intentions, some of the statements she made on her blog are unfounded. She was, let's not forget, a £ 112,000 fine for making claims that the Jade Vagina egg she sold was a & # 39; spiritual detox & # 39; offered.
Not that such criticism is important to her huge army of fans – and it's huge, her blog has 1.8 million readers a month. The eggs are still on sale at her store in Notting Hill and, despite the £ 60 price tag, they are currently sold out.
Does GP really think your lady parts should be steamed, as they once controversially claimed? I spent all day in the world of Gwynnie, I really think she does. After a plant-based breakfast of vegan donuts and cauliflower, popcorn is a session with breathing guru Stuart Sandeman or, as he calls it, & # 39; therapy without words & # 39 ;.
A breathing guru, for all your normal people out there, is someone who teaches you how to breathe deeply and slowly, and thus fool your mind by thinking that everything is calm.
When asked whether charging such high prices excludes people with, you know, real problems, he replied: & # 39; Last week I did charity sessions. & # 39; Well, that's fine then.
Liz Jones visits the first Goop wellness summit in London
Seeing that I looked skeptical, a woman from Sweden, deadpan, asks: & # 39; Will you breathe later? & # 39;
There is no humor here. No real depth, not even if the conversation entitled Food Matters is something to hold on to.
Food writer and TV star Jasmine Hemsley tells us seriously, albeit ungrammatically, to eat more slowly and to chew more & # 39; and & # 39; go to bed earlier & # 39 ;. Excellent. Thanks for that.
We are encouraged to & # 39; mindful & # 39; to hydrate, although a good old-fashioned water fountain might have helped.
This is a & # 39; plant-based & # 39; bye but there is almost no discussion about the horror that eating animals is. The only thing that seems to matter is the health effects on the western female body. This latest wave of hippie dom, or now-wellness, is absorbed in itself in such a way that it is the New Age equivalent of a black hole. Scary. Do you want a body like Gwynnie or Madonna later? Yes please!
Instead of doing what most Hollywood stars do, and having a pair of ribs removed for a smaller waist, it means that you have spent 40 minutes trying to recognize the little blonde dot in front of the room that Tracy Anderson coaches is to follow her train.
We get weights and spend about 35 minutes twirling and bending our upper arms. Good if you have to be on a red carpet in the near future, but, really, for the rest of us, what's wrong with buying some nice covers in Marks? And when did you prop up your iPhone on your mat to film yourself – like the people around me – became a thing?
As if a huge mirror at the end of the room is not bad enough!
The event continues, fed by nut butter balls and hybris. Apart from tables that groan with books written by the guest speakers, a trio says that the event & # 39; Buy my book !! & # 39; must be called – there are many treatment stations. First I choose the Face Gym. My face is effectively brushed by a few rolls, which I tell the therapist to tingle my fillings.
& # 39; You have fillings! & # 39 ;, she bites. & # 39; They are not mercury, are they? & # 39;
The small roller can be used at home for just £ 429.
On the top floor I am intrigued by a woman who offers a golden facial treatment with light therapy.
LED face mask
& # 39; Do you want the green light for acne, or the red light for aging, sagging skin? & # 39 ;, She asks negligently. I thought this was all about feeling good about yourself? But still. I relax. I choose the red. I don't come up younger, but we live in hope.
The most insane session of the day must be the Reiki course, performed with yet another straight face by someone called Jasmin (they are always Jasmins, never Beryls), who among us, her disciples, walks with a chime before she plays a big gong hit.
& # 39; Use your third eye to visualize a bright light! & # 39 ;, she tells us, making me wonder if even my third eye needs anything to wipe out his bags.
It is at this point that it all descends to Ab Fab's parodies.
Except that the only person who laughs is GP himself, and the venture capitalists who injected a cool $ 50 million into Goop last year.
During the day the doctor stands out because of her absence. I see her once, she has changed from her Louboutins to Birkenstocks, flanked by bodyguards.
What does she think her Goopies will do to her? Do you hospitalize her with bad vibes?
I imagine she retreats to a backstage & # 39; space & # 39; (general practitioner is not in rooms, she occupies spaces), or has slipped to split pasta at The River Café next door.
The climax (please stop thinking about those jade eggs, they are SOLD OUT) is of course the evening fire evening, with special guests Twiggy and Gwynnie & BFF – best friend forever – Penelope Cruz, here to talk about hormones.
Cruz is eloquent, but the star of the day is Twiggy, who will turn 70 this year. She overestimates everyone, which raises the question how, given her age when capturing bacon was normal.
She also talks the most feeling of the day. I think the reason she looks so good is that she has had an interesting life and known love.
When Twiggy tells us how much she likes to sew; Gwynnie says: & # 39; Creativity with your hands is like channeling God & # 39 ;.
That reminds me of something that Barry Michels said at the start of this very long day – that we can get rid of fear by introducing our archetypal mother who will light up & # 39; all negative thoughts & # 39 ;.
Gwyneth Paltrow at In goop Health London 2019 on June 29, 2019 in London
I am reminded of my own mother, who mainly cleaned up the carpet, but I request today and despite my skepticism I am beginning to get what he means.
Was it worth the grandiose? Most of her fans seem to think so and I start to wonder if they are brainwashed or simply satisfied.
An American woman dares to say: & # 39; It was nice, but I could have had an all-inclusive week in Jamaica for the same price and been even happier! & # 39;
Another commented that & # 39; for £ 250 would be the best ever & # 39 ;. But divergent opinions were rare.
I inspect the goodie bag as I leave and browse through the new Elizabeth Gilbert book, leggings, a T-shirt, ointments and a scrunchie. Damn good actually.
But my litmus test is this: do I get away knowing three things that will make my life better?
The answer is a resounding no.
However, I had one revelation while trying to bend my limbs in a pretzel in the Energy Studio and remember my damn mantra. The Goop logo is large everywhere. When I stare at it, I finally begin to see the meaning of it: it is Gwyneth Paltrow, who straddles a lot of thick zeros …
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